It’s a Sunday, an early summer day in the mid-1950s. I’m at boarding school in Salisbury. Dad had left the Navy and was working as an engineer for Fisons Ltd., near Cambridge. Occasionally my parents made the long drive to take me out for a picnic lunch. The school released me between Matins and Evensong, so we drove to Stonehenge, a short hop north of Salisbury. Dad pulled the wheels of our beige Ford Consul—I recall number plates HHV 737—onto the grassy bank of the A344. He helped Mother across a ditch and a broken cattle fence and she opened our lunch basket on the Slaughter Stone. Just like that!
Stonehenge was then a jumble of stones, ditches and banks abandoned in prehistory. Few local people in the living world gave a toss about the place; too many British towns still needed postwar rebuilding.
It seems to me that the Slaughter Stone (Stone 95) has sunk further into the ground since the 1950s. I’m sure it still glitters with mica, (like the Manhattan Schist I would discover a few years later). Anyway, on that day the stone lay at the right height for lunch. Its surface was as refreshingly sun-warmed as the air was cool. Only Friesen cows came visiting. They got crusts and apple cores.
RSPF/The Slaughter Stone/circa 1955